Covid-19: Business Fire Safety

It's important to continue practicing fire safety despite the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

All businesses should review their Fire Risk assessment and Emergency Plan in light of the impact of Covid-19 on their staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements. 

For further information about Fire Risk assessments can be found in the Business Safety page;

If your business is still operating 

New and temporary staff should receive robust fire safety training and awareness. Staff should be extra vigilant of potential hazards and risks, particularly where staffing levels have been reduced, or if staff are working alone or in an isolated environment: 

  • Ensure that alarms and emergency exits are still accessible and that alarms can be raised as needed,
  • Continue fire safety testing and keep ignition sources separate from combustible materials. Even where stockpiling is necessary due to external factors, these safety measures must be followed,
  • Do not prop open fire doors, even as a measure to minimise contact between staff.

If you’ve had to close your business 

If your building is closed for an extended period of time, there are some key steps to take in order to reduce the risk of fire: 

  • Keep all entrances and exits clear, and rubbish and commercial bins should be emptied and stored securely away from any buildings,
  • If possible, don’t store excessive amounts of stock in a hazardous manner,
  • Turn off all electrical devices where possible and remove plugs from sockets,
  • Ensure your building is secure and continue with usual measures to prevent arson.

If no staff will be using the building, your premises should regularly be checked to ensure that the security of the building has not been compromised. Any issues should be reported to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.  

If the fire warning and detection system at your premises is linked to an alarm receiving centre ensure they have up to date contact details of managers / key holders of the premises in case of alarm actuation.  

If your building is connected or adjacent to a domestic dwelling and you have a shared fire alarm, you must arrange for the weekly testing to take place. 

Healthcare premises

Staffing levels in care homes must be maintained to ensure emergency plans can be effectively managed and staff should constantly monitor the situation on their premises. 

If staffing levels are affected by Covid-19, care homes should review their risk assessment and emergency plan. If there are not enough staff to support a care home’s evacuation strategy, the care home should consult with their Fire Risk Assessor. 

Any staged evacuation arrangements such as progressive horizontal evacuation, (PHE) which are often in place in hospitals and care homes, need to be supported by appropriate levels of staff. 

If a fire does occur in your premises you must ensure the fire service is called at the earliest opportunity and inform the operator that an evacuation is in progress.